Performing Well in a Weekend Full of Drama, PDS Girls’ Hockey Takes 2nd at Invitational
There was no shortage of drama as the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team hosted its annual Harry Rulon-Miller Invitational last weekend.
In the opening round on Saturday, PDS battled the N.J. Colonials U16 Tier 2 team to a 1-1 tie through regulation and overtime. The Panthers prevailed in the ensuing shootout as sophomore Kiely French and freshman Malia Leveson each found the back of the net while PDS sophomore goalie Annika Asplundh held the Colonials scoreless.
A day later in the title game, PDS found itself locked in a 0-0 stalemate with Rye Country Day (N.Y.) through two periods. Rye scored midway through the third period and held off several charges by the Panthers to earn a 1-0 victory and the championship.
While PDS head coach Lorna Cook was disappointed that her team didn’t come away with the crown, she saw plenty of progress.
“It was good to have two challenging games; both teams that we played used their points a lot so it was good,” said Cook, whose team moved to 3-3 with the loss to Rye.
“I thought as the game went on today our wingers did a much better job of getting out there to challenge those shots. They did a good job of reading when to get on the boards for the breakout.”
Although Cook was encouraged to see the Panthers outshoot Rye 27-23, she acknowledged that the finishing has to be sharper.
“Obviously we need to find a way to get more pucks to the net,” said Cook. “We certainly got chances today. We had more opportunities than they did. We have to capitalize early before we start getting tired. We have got to work our shots from outside and crashing in on rebounds and burying those chances.”
PDS has been getting good work along the blue line from Leveson and French.
“We have challenged Malia and Kiely by having them each be a regular defenseman,” said Cook.
“I think with each game they are getting more comfortable with what that means. They are doing a great job in our own zone, covering in front, making sure that they are winning battles in the corners. They just need to find that balance with the offensive push and the defense.”
Sophomore goalie Annika Asplundh has been the backbone of the PDS defense.
“I think she has definitely been stronger at just being able to control rebounds, especially on the different velocities of shots that she is getting,” said Cook of Asplundh, who made 22 saves in the loss to Rye.
“She is seeing the pucks that are coming in low better. We saw in the shootout yesterday, she came up huge for us. The goal today was not her fault.”
While PDS didn’t achieve its goal of winning the tournament for a second year in a row, last weekend’s drama should lead to better performances down the road.
“The tough losses help you become a better team and get a little bit stronger mentally,” said Cook, whose team hosts Princeton High on December 17.
“You get a little more momentum, a little bit more motivated. I am never really concerned with the record, I am more concerned with where we are headed.”